Absences, Missing Earrings, and Coming Out Alive

Well. It’s been a hot minute. But here we are.

When I first started blogging, I remember reading posts that folks had written after writing absences. These posts usually began with the blogger declaring that they were, indeed, alive. When I read these caveats I would feel a pang of guilt because in all honesty, I hadn’t really noticed their absence; I don’t know whether that’s a byproduct of the over-scheduled, overstimulated era we’re living in or just a testament to my own self absorption, although it’s probably a combination of the two. But I remember wondering why, if so much time had lapsed between blog posts, one would break their silence with an apology. I mean, if your bandwidth was spread so very thin, shouldn’t you just jump right back in as if no time had passed at all?

Several thoughts:

  1. Obviously you’re alive.
  2. Obviously a couple people care. BUT.
  3. Obviously most people don’t care. And that’s OK. There are a lot of us, and we can’t care about everyone equally.

I am beginning to understand that we say we’re alive not because we’re particularly interested in telling other people, but because we want to tell ourselves. We want to put those words out there because we, the Alive Alivers, need to hear them.

The last time I wrote was in May. That’s saying something considering that I used to post 2-3 times a week. Life has been full, but not necessarily in a good way. I’m trying to come up with a list of all the things that inhibited me from writing like I knew I needed to be. Here goes:

  1. My husband was looking for a new job. The level of stress I underwent during this time cannot be understated. We’ve been down this road before, but this time it was way more intense because C now goes to school (yeah, that’s a thing that you missed. That baby that was born a few years ago goes to school now. Heh.) and we had to make tuition. She got into an amazing pre-K program back in January – one of those programs where parents joke about putting their babies on the list before they’re even born; well, we put C on the list back in November and she still got in. Long summer short: he got a job that he loves, but the stress of the job search was…rough. All summer long, there was a palpable nervous tension that trickled down to nearly every facet of our lives. C felt it too, and in all honesty, we weren’t the best parents we needed to be to her when she started acting out in frustration.
  2. My work life was insane and draining. Here’s a thing that happened: I randomly interviewed for a position at an incredible, much-lauded for-profit firm over the summer. When they contacted me to interview, I was all LOL HAHA OK. But then I went in and the interview went, like, really well. So well that they offered me a job. They did this on the same day that B found out he hadn’t been offered a senior-level position a place where he had made it through the third round of interviews. It also happened to be his birthday. Also, the job I was offered would have been awesome had the salary not been less than I was currently making at my current workplace. Puking in bags occurred. Disappointment abounded.
  3. We moved. Every single time we move, I’m like NEVER AGAIN. It is a major pain and it’s only gotten harder as C has gotten bigger. But we outgrew our old house so it was time to find a place that better suited our needs. That’s easier said than done, but we found it. It’s two minutes from C’s school, one minute from church, and it has an insanely huge kitchen. Like, the distance between the oven and the fridge is like walking the full length of a football field. This is of course good because now simply purveying food for my family burns calories. We moved in three weeks ago. Since B has zero PTO since he just started his new job, essentially all of the moving chores fell to me. C was a good assistant, though. We’re finally settling in and hitting our stride, just in time for Halloween.
  4.  My kid is just hard. I was scrolling through all the posts I wrote about C last year when she was three, and the resounding theme to those posts is that tantrums are hard but par for the course when your kid is at a particular age. She is well into age four now and while the tantrums are less frequent and more predictable, over the summer they occurred with a regularity and fervency that was cause for concern. There was a period of a few months when my body would physically lock up on my way home from work every day because I didn’t know which Cee I would encounter when I got home: the C that was cooperative, fun, and rational, or the C that would scream, bite, and cry for hours if she was denied a cookie after dinner since she had a Popsicle in the middle of the day. Since all the recent changes in our lives, she seems to be doing better, but I’m now realizing that children do not age out of being hard. When she was a baby and a toddler and I wrote about the difficult aspects of parenting – moderating tantrums, sleeplessness, their self-centeredness – I did so with the naive levity of someone who believed parenting really would get easier. And it does in many ways – we all sleep through the night now – but to think that you will ever get to a place in parenting when things are 100% copacetic all the time is incorrect. Your kid is a person and she will present problems that you are not adequately equipped to solve. I have made mistakes with her and I will continue to do so. We will both have a-hole days. The thing that matters most is that she is completely and utterly confident in the fact that I love her, even despite our clashes, and that I am completely and utterly motivated to help her process difficult things that she’s not equipped to handle alone.

So that was my summer. Was writing going to happen? LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL.

There are some things we can hang our proverbial hats on. For me, those hats are earrings. (Stay with me.) Every single day since I got my ears pierced in the sixth or seventh grade, I have worn earrings. They make me feel like I’ve got my life together. I may not wear makeup and I may not wear clean underwear (JK I always wear clean underwear, mostly because I have children ergo do laundry 9,000 times a week), but I always wear earrings, even if they’re just studs. They make me feel like I have my life together. Everything else may be falling apart, but at least I remembered to wear jewelry on my ears. It’s just my thing.

When we were in the thick of this summer when everything was tense and miserable and disappointing, there was an afternoon that I drove home from work and realized I was not wearing earrings. I remember exactly what intersection I was at. My ear itched, I reached up to scratch it, and nothing was there. And I wept because I felt like my whole life was falling apart. (It’s amazing how depression and anxiety find new ways to lie to us.)

Maybe my life was falling apart, but I managed to put it back together because I have a husband who was weathering the storm too and who helped me hold it together. I had family, friends, and even coworkers who were there for me. All that time, we had people who were praying for us and lifting us up in ways that ran the full gamut.

I am an Alive Aliver.

And I am so glad to be back.

21 comments

  1. Welcome back! Yeah, parenting does get easier, but maybe it’s more accurate to say it’s just a different kind of hard.

    I’m glad things are settling down for you. Calmer is better most of the time. I hate moving, I hate changing jobs, and challenging kids are, well, challenging! I hope you’re able to find the time to write some more. Is this the wrong time to nag you about NaNoWriMo? ;)

  2. teresarpate · · Reply

    Love you soooo much.

  3. I’m so glad you’re alive. (I always knew because of Facebook, but still) It sounds like you have had a bunch of crap dumped on you but do you know what that’s also called? Fertilizer. I don’t know what you’re going to end up making out of all of this but I have no doubt that it’s going to be vibrant and thrive.

    On a different note about blogging: I always feel guilty when I’ve taken a break. Mostly because I’m not reading anyone else’s blogs when I’m in the midst of “real life” and I’m afraid that since I haven’t been commenting, they won’t comment when I post again. But it always amazes me how comrades come out in force when I jump back in the saddle and they offer their love and support (I’ve just started to come back too so I can relate). I care. I love you! And I love to hear about what’s been going on with you because a blog is a sacred place and I’m so happy to be here with you. <3

  4. Welcome back!

  5. I am always amazed how life puts out the very things before us that we need to hear. I was just consoling my girlfriend this morning ; she has just become a newborn mother in the last month. Her and her husband have been struggling with the stress of finance and sleep deprivation. It’s taking its toll as I’d imagine you have experience with. I ought to send her this – I always tell her to start a mommy blog – even with the irregular posting schedules (:

  6. Possibly you recall that I’m not a mommy blogger fan, raising kids is not my thing, but when I’ve read you, I’ve enjoyed your writing. There’s a level of depth to what you have to say that even resonates to someone like me: a gay, childless, atheist, well over age 50, and insanely city-slick. If you’re living, or as you phrase it, an Alive Aliver, life can get very complicated at times. Blogging consistently takes time and energy, including reading and commenting on others’ sites. My life has been extremely complicated, too. My job has changed and I have also moved. Packing up 32 years of living in my old apartment was sheer hell. Right now, I’m doing a second renovation at my new place and have concluded that contractors must be the most hated people after ISIS. Therefore, I have also dropped out most of the year and I am sure hardly anyone has noticed my absence. Unlike you, I’m not sure if when my torture is finished, if I will drop back in. I wish you, B and C well.

  7. John Minervini · · Reply

    I am proud of you and think you’re awesome. Welcome back :D

  8. I missed you, and I totally get you on the tantrum front. I had to come up with a few different ways to diffuse tantrums over the years and my fave is still flipping the kid upside down when they appear to be losing it. Except only works until they get too heavy to be flipped in an instant. So now I yell at me along with them.

  9. Welcome back!
    Life has pot holes, some bigger than others, but we always seem to keep on going on. You’ll make it kid!

  10. Thank you for coming back. I ALWAYS enjoy your posts. My empathy for a rough summer.

    Mary Engelbreit says it best: “Life is just so DAILY” (I hope you’re familiar with Mary Engelbreit’s work – every woman has days where she needs a jolt of ME!)

  11. You amaze me!! I’ve been praying for you and will continue!

  12. Hey E,

    You have an energy at your core that keeps your life together…with or without earrings. Nice to see you back. :)

    RR

  13. I don’t really feel like you’ve been gone, but I guess you have. That kids getting easier thing? Yeah, we all tell ourselves that, but it doesn’t get easier. Good news for you is that C sounds like she’s practicing for puberty. The two of you should be well-rehearsed by the time the real show starts!

  14. I was soooo glad you see you pop up in my email inbox. And this was great, just because I am in a rough spot right now and I only see it getting rougher before it gets better. Not a fun feeling…..it makes me want to be an alive aliver but only having the strength to survive right now.

  15. Sorry to hear about your troubles, but glad things are looking up.

  16. Welcome back darlin’; seems we have been going on in parallel universes, and we just wrote the same post… except, my kids are much bigger. ;-) xo

  17. So much love and empathy, for you, for this post, for your tantrumming 4 yo and the subsequent struggle. I am so there with you. Glad to have you here again. And whenever. Hugs!

  18. Good to hear from you again. ;)

  19. I’m glad you’re back!

  20. Alive Aliver. I like that. I’ve had my share of itchy earlobes in the past few years and totally understand the need to sob. You will get through this, and we will be here to read about it.

Now you can hold the magic talking stick.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: